Measuring Matter

Jessie D. Barnes Henry Clay Elementary School
13231 S. Burley
Chicago IL 60633


The fourth grade students will measure the mass of objects using a balance
scale and measure the volume of an irregularly shaped object, using

Materials needed:

balancing scale heavy thread
coins 50-ml graduated cylinder
paper clips bolt
pencils books
blocks nails
soda can

Recommended Strategy:

Phenomenological approach and Performance assessment

1. Review the following terms:
matter, solid, liquid, gas, mass, grams, centimeter, and milliliter
2. Place an apple in a sack and staple the sack shut. Leave another sack flat
and staple the top of the sack shut. Pass both sacks around for the
students to observe and determine which sack contains a solid, liquid or
gas object. Have the students name the object in the sack and describe to
the class the shape, color, size, and weight of the object.

Performance Assessment:

Part I A. Place a coin in one of the balance pans. 1. What happens to the balance? B. Add paper clips to the other balance pan, one at a time, until the pans balance. 1. How many paper clips are needed to balance the pans? 2. What is the mass of the coin? C. Find the mass of other objects. 1. What do you predict the mass of each object will be? 2. What is the mass of each object? 3. How can the balance measure mass? Part II
D. Set a graduated cylinder on a table, away from the edge. Fill it with
water up to the 20-ml mark.
1. What is the volume of the water in the graduated cylinder?
E. Tie a piece of heavy thread around the bolt. Make sure the thread is long
enough for you to hold onto when the bolt is lowered into the graduated
1. What do you think will happen to the water when you lower the bolt into
the graduated cylinder?
F. Carefully lower the bolt into the water. Watch the level of the water.
1. Describe what happened to the level of the water.
2. What is the volume of the water in the graduated cylinder now?
3. How much did the bolt increase the volume of the water?
4. What is the volume of the bolt?
5. How is a graduated cylinder used to measure the volume of an object?
The volume of the displaced water is equal to the volume of the object.
6. Use your graduated cylinder to find the volume of a crayon.

Multicultural Statement:

The metric system is used universally. Children of all cultures can benefit
from the understanding and use of the metric system.

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